Our work at Esilalei continues with our daily porridge programme, run by the main teacher Mr Leapaa. We are also in the process of erecting another new set of toilets for the use of the nursery school students. The previous ones were in bad repair becauses Esilalei is located a long a small fault line on the Rift Valley floor. With hard rock just below the surface, and Lake Manyara just nearby it seems that it only took a small tremor to dislodge the foundations of the original toilets and have them crumble.
There was also a colony of bats that made their home in the roof of the nursery school. They make a terrible mess and the stench was incredibly strong. Therefore we spent time to block their entrance into the roof and also replaced all the ceiling boards to make it a healthier and safer environment for the students to be each day.
This year has also seen The Harker School (USA) once again donate their time, school supplies and medical items to the community with a visit in June. A simple eye clinic was offered and a donation of sixteen goats to the community was all followed up by a colourful display of singing and dancing by Esilalei's young warriors.
We have finished the teacher's office and store, along with a temporary kitchen to provide daily porridge for the children. We are also half way through building the first primary school classroom. Our plan is to have this completed by early 2013. In conjunction with the school project at Esilalei, we are currently looking towards making fresh water accessible to the community of a wider scale. As the village is located on the shores of Lake Manyara, a Rift Valley lake, this means the salinity of the groundwater is extremely high. Fresh water can be tapped into approx 2km from the village and we would like to be able to pipe that through to the village as soon as we can raise enough funds.
From 2008, we have begun to assist in Esilalei, a Maasai village along the shores of Lake Manyara. Together with Into Africa UK and Belafrica (Europe), we have built their first classroom - a Nursery school for 120 students. The elders of Esilalei had heard, along the 'Maasai Grapevine' of the success of Ilkurot and spent many months finding out who were responsible. They knocked on our gate, and we had no hesitation in bringing education back into the village.
We expanded the school to add a kitchen, store, teacher's office, football pitch and sheltered outside benches for viewing when the children play a friendly football match. During December 2008, three groups of students from Brisbane Girls Grammar (Australia) participated in building projects in both Ilkurot and Esilalei - the results have been amazing. There have been desks and murals painted, holes dug, playgrounds established, plastering and many other well appreciated chores. It was such a success.
The school teachers led by the head teacher, Leapaa, continue to try their best to give these children a positive foundation for their primary education.
In August 2011, we plan to break ground with Stage 1 of the first primary school classroom. We have had many meetings with the village chairman, parents and teachers to allow this to move forward so the school can be officially recognized by the Tanzania Education Department and be enlisted to be able to apply for government funding as we grow. This will supplement what we already fund for the school.